By Kenny Lopez | Staff Writer
Ailine Dominey is one of the newest English teachers at Pearce. On her first day she introduced and explained some interesting things about herself. She focused on talking about her time spent in Japan.
Ms. Dominey moved to Japan when she was very young. “I moved to Japan when I was two years old, so it was mostly because of my parents’ job, that brought us to Japan,” Ms. Dominey said. “I was really young at the time when we moved, and it was a decision my family had made so because I was really young I didn’t really have an option.”
The reason she her parents were there was because of their jobs. “My dad’s in ministry, so he was basically like a preacher, but he was also doing things that were kind of like anthropology. So, for that reason he was doing a PhD program and he was studying some aspects of Japanese culture,” Ms. Dominey said .
Ms. Dominey’s time in Japan was very intermittent because she was travelling back and forth between the United States and Japan. “We moved back and forth between the U.S. and Japan, so I spent a lot of time there growing up,” Ms. Dominey said. Although she didn’t have a choice of where to live, she enjoyed living in Japan. “I didn’t have a choice, but I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t like I didn’t want to be there,” she said.
Because Ms. Dominey was moving back and forth, she found it difficult to balance speaking both English and Japanese. “Did I get rusty?” Ms. Dominey wondered. “Yeah, it happened quite a bit, actually, and because of that I ended up having to repeat a grade when I was in grade school.” She faced the same challenge with writing both English and Kanji, yet she never found learning Japanese a challenge. “Initially I was there when I was two, so I picked it up pretty naturally at a really young age,” she said.
Although she faced some obstacles with balancing academic aspects, she found a silver lining with living it Japan. “It was like a second home to me,” Ms. Dominey said. One particular thing she liked about Japan was transportation. “Most people don’t drive cars in Japan. Most people take the train,” she said. “It’s a really well run system, and I miss being able to go anywhere by train and then by walking.”
She said that although she got mixed responses from people, many of the people in Japan were very welcoming. “Most of the people are pretty kind-spirited, and most of them are willing to help a foreigner out,” Ms. Dominey said. “Most of them recognize that even if you’re not doing things that are culturally appropriate things for them, then most of them will give you a pass, especially if you’re a foreigner, because they get that you don’t know the norms. Most of them will be friendly.”
She had a few tips for people who are planning to travel abroad to any other country. “Even if you struggle with the language, make sure that you’re trying to pay attention to people’s expressions and gestures,” Ms. Dominey said. “Transportation is another key thing—how are are you going to get from where you live to school. Is it going to cost a lot of money? Can you get there by foot?”
She further pointed out that budgeting is another key aspect. She said that knowing someone in a foreign country can be important. “Do you have a point of contact?” she asked. “Is there like a friend or somebody there who speaks the language and that you can contact and they would help you out?”